Monday, April 30, 2012

Socks of Evil Deeds

 I call these socks my socks of evil deeds.

Always the villain uses purple and acid green in their costume in order to try to gain the upper hand on either Superman or Wonder Woman.

These are knit out of Twisted Limone yarn and were really quick and fun to complete.

For some eye candy, check out this beautiful modern quilt over at Lily's Quilts.  The saturated colors are awesome, they just pop.

Having a bit of unexpected car trouble this week.  Sigh...pressing on.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Modern Design and Quilting

Lately, I have had modern design on the brain.  Specifically, modern household items.

I'm in love with the designs of Heini Riitahuhta from Finland. 

Her pottery is divine and was featured in a Japanese crafting and lifestyle magazine recently called Giorni.

I managed to pick up a couple of pieces and find them very inspirational. 

There is a Japanese web site called Koruja Matka that looks like they carry her buttons.  I may ask my Japanese girlfriend to translate the site to at least figure out their address.

Anyhow, this love of modern household items has me all excited and in process of designing small modern quilt blocks.  A little series with more simple design as compared to the modern house blocks that I created.  I will confess those house blocks do have a fair number of applique pieces.

My little sister used to do hand applique with me and when she picked out a block, I think she had something like a limit of 10 pieces max.  Let's see if I can design these so that even the serious time-challenged applique artist can whip them up in an hour or two.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quilter's Notebook

I am still making small chipboard notebooks that hold scraps of fabric and notes about projects.

I'm a sucker for these little books.  I started using zebra duct tape as the binding tape.  Really fun.

When Moleskin comes out with a new notebook, I always want those too.  They are small, affordable in general (around $10, although maybe expensive for a notebook), but so very handy that I have a little collection of them.

One for quilting notes, one for spinning notes, one for 'firsts' about the kids - first steps, first lost tooth, etc.  We had a first recently where my older son went to a friend's house to play.  I had not really thought about it much, but it was the first time I actually let him stay at a friend's house without also staying there.  He was so excited and proud and had such a blast.  

I know I have said this incredible as growing up is, it's all flying by too fast for my taste.  Where is my slow-motion button when I need it?  We are having so much fun with these small kids.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Roll in a Day / Day in a Roll project

Today was "Roll in a Day / Day in a Roll" day.

A bunch of photographers run all over the globe with their film cameras (read: NO digital!).  They shoot a single roll of film during the course of a single day: April 21st, 2012.

The flickr pool is located here.  It looks like they will probably host this event monthly if you want to jump on the bandwagon next time around, it's easy enough.  As my dad says, "It's only film!"

I couldn't resist joining in on the fun since I love photography and my DH participated in the last round of it.  I will confess I was a tiny bit jealous of all the fun he had.

So I jumped into the fun with both feet.  I loaded my film camera with some black and white film, so will need to wait for a lab to process it.  I'll let you know when I end up posting it. 

I did during the course of the day happen to encounter some interesting things:

  • A knitting shop having a crazy sale
  • Two of my best friends
  • An awesome teenager rock band
  • A merry-go-round
  • A couple of macaw birds
  • Some very beautiful light
  • A plain horse with wagon on Mulberry Street (ok ok, I didn't actually see that)
I couldn't help but pick up a little yarn during bullet item 1 above.  I'm planning to make hats, not that anybody would wear them in this crazy heat we are having!

The small quilt I'm hand quilting also inched forward a little during a viewing of Star Wars Eposode 6.  Yub-yub!

If you want to see a really adorable quilt idea, check out Julie's post on Herding Cats over at My Quilt Diary.  Her design of this is very Escher-like, and just beautiful. 

Who's going to the Seven Sister's Quilt Show next weekend in San Luis Obispo, California?  Probably not me, but would love to be there.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Modern Quilting

I am still here stitching away by hand with my needle and thread, and my Japanese Taupe Fabrics...creating modern house quilt blocks. 

This is the 10th block, and is inspired by what is called the Sax House in Oakland, California.  The home itself is designed to look just like a saxophone.  Can you see the instrument in the design?  I'm not done with the embroidery yet.  I think that will put the finishing touches on the block.

I never though that a popular blog like Quilt Inspiration would notice my work, but it turns out they did this week.

They just posted a little piece on my modern house quilt blocks which was very generous and kind of them.  You can see the article at this link.  The cool part is you can really see how the blocks were inspired from the photos I took of the real house.

I'm so honored!

Now, to come down from cloud 9 and get back to my stitching.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Quilting and Photography

I took a few photos of my Oakshott fabrics before I washed them.  What a neat and tidy little stack.  Ahhhh...organization.  So comforting.  Spoken like a true control freak.

But if I didn't love order, I certainly wouldn't be quilting in my spare time, now would I?

The photo above looks a bit impersonal I think, sort of like something you might see in a catalog.  I couldn't resist trying a plain white background though since the fabrics were so colorful themselves.

If you ever want to take a photo like this, it is actually super easy.  Here's how:

I opened up the curtains and put a chair in front of the natural light coming in.

It happened that there was an old and HUGE calendar from last year hanging around.  I used the back of it which was white, and sort of draped it over the chair.  You could also just use a huge piece of white paper or poster board.  I would not use fabric since any small crease will show.  I then put the fabric stack right in middle and started clicking away.  

You know I love photography, and helping folks take better photos for their blogs is something that has always been on my mind.

I wrote a guide for crafters who do quilting, knitting, and sewing to inspire and help people take better photos.  It's free and it's posted here if you're interested.

If there is a blog out there that you think has exceptional photos, let me know, I'd love to see it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sheep Shearing

This weekend my quilting/knitting group and family enjoyed a sheep shearing event at Hidden Villa in Los Altos, California.

The event included sheep dog herding, sheep shearing and explanation of how to do so handspinners can enjoy the wool.  They try to shear the animal in a single pass in order not to have any short pieces of hair that would mess up your yarn.  Very cool.

They also had a felting project for the kids to take some wool and felt it around a rock to make a big wooly paperweight.  They even had a station where the kids learned to spin yarn.  My kids of course already knew a lot about it.

It was a great photo opportunity and we shot some video as well.  I would highly recommend this event to anybody who knits, spins, takes photos, or has kids.  A little video clip of the shearing itself for you here:

Hear more about it from my friend Sue's blog - So Sue.  She did a really informative post about it.  The folks there said you can even buy yarn from these sheep at the Los Altos Farmer's Market.

Sue also recently nominated me for the The Liebster award, and so did Bridget of the Nickel and Dime Ranch.  I will have to decide who to pass along the blog love to next.  Thanks for the award.  It's fun to feel loved!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Oakshott fabric: to cut or not to cut, that is the question

I'm not the only one who happens to 'heart' Oakshott fabrics.  

The Little Red Hen loves them, Completely Cauchy loves them, what's not to love...

I am thinking I may actually cut into my collection now that I have enough of them to actually make a full quilt.  I find the work of Malka Dubrawksy of A Stitch in Dye blog to be quite inspirational and I'm wondering if something like the cupcake quilt that she did would be an interesting way to showcase these fabrics.  I love this little puzzle that is made out of an image of one of her quilts.

On other creative fronts, he photographer in me wants to do a little photo study of Tom Otterness' sculpture installation at Happy Hollow in San Jose, CA.   It may take an early arrival to catch them without kids running all over them.

If you have the time, stop over to Moonstitches blog, and mention to Alex that you're glad to hear she's thinking of blogging again now and then.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fabric Stash: how to organize it

I got the wild idea to organize my Japanese Taupe fabric collection.

I am embarrassed to say the above is only a portion of my fabric, although it is a big chunk of it.  It makes me want to create a million zillion taupe quilts. 

I store my fabric in wire bins so they can have air flow around them.  Textiles don't like to be stored in plastic, or near light.  I keep a huge very low cost Ikea curtain thrown over the bin holder at all times to avoid light damage.  I did not always do this and I had some damage unfortunately.  Over time, please do be careful of this.

Inside of the bins, I start with genre of fabric (ie  Japanese Taupes, Japanese Yarn Dyed, Civil War Reproductions, 1930's reproductions, etc) and I organize by color inside of the genre.  Most quilts I make out of only one genre pallet so the organization method matches my design thinking for a new quilt.

While wandering around the web:

I picked up an amazing knit shawl pin recently by Plover - keep your shawl on you or use in a scarf.  Beautiful.  Most clever designs.

My son asked me to paint my nails in this color (his favorite) and I did.  That's love for you.

Ukrainian Easter Eggs by Blue Blossoms Easter Egg - wow, nuff said.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter - celebrate with a wool felt Easter basket: ala Purl Bee

Whenever the Purl Bee does a blog post with a project I always say to myself, "Gee, I'm going to make that!"  

Have you ever said that?  Ok, perhaps I'm not alone here. many of you have gone and followed all the directions and actually MADE the project? 

Ah- Ha!  Perhaps a smaller subset.

Well, for once, I followed their tutorial, and made the Purl Bee "Super Simple Felt Easter Basket".

Were their directions good?  Yes! 

Did the materials the recommend work as they say...another Yes!  

Did the project come out cute?  Of course Yes.  

Did I stick to the exact directions?  Well...not really.

Here's the scoop:

I could not help but use a basting needle instead of the needle they recommended.  A giant needle really helped me get through this monster thick felt.  I was glad I didn't try a small needle.

I also did not do the yarn embellishment on the top of the basket, but I added some wool felt decorations that I felt it needed.

I cut the leaves out of some wool felt I have had for a while, and I used a Sizzix Punches to stamp through the natural dyed wool felt I recently picked up at Verb. 

The project was really fun and I appreciated the online free tutorial.  I tried to make a bit 'manly' (can an Easter basket be manly?) since I was making it for my DH.

The materials themselves are more on the high quality side (not low cost), but the result is beautiful.  If the felt was less expensive, I would think about making more of these. 

If you're celebrating Easter, have a very happy one this year.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shibori: traditionally created Japanese textiles

Another treat I had while at the Voices in Cloth quilt show, was running into Debbie of Kasuri Dye Works.  She used to own a shop in Berkeley, CA that I loved to visit.  When they had sales the line to get in would wrap around the block - it was really crazy.  These days, she does a handful of shows a year, and unfortunately does not have an online shop.

Her fabric is amazing though, so if you get to catch up with her, it is a real treat to see her fabrics and just to meet her.

You can easily find information on how Shibori is created.  There are many techniques.  My personal weakness is for the indigo dyed pieces, as that captures a certain vision I have in my head of traditional Japanese textiles.

I have always wanted to make another kimono quilt.  Many people have made them.  I made one ages ago as a wedding gift.  I hardly even photographed it before I gave it away.  Oops.  Sigh.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Naturally Dyed Wool Felt

When I was at the East Bay Heritage Quilt show, Voices in Cloth, I could not resist picking up a few small pieces of wool felt at the Verb booth.  I have a small collection of wool felt that I've picked up along the way but this is the first time I've seen it created through natural plant-based dye methods.  The colors have a certain elegant look about them.  Purlbee had a tutorial on making stuffed patchwork eggs a while back.  I'm wondering if these would lend themselves to that project.

I read about this incredible Amish/Welsh quilt exhibit over at Little Welsh Quilts, check out the post here.  Shame I don't live close enough to visit it (like on the other side of the pond).

If you haven't ever done a flickr search for "Yoko Saito" you might enjoy the images that you will find there.  Some really beautiful taupe quilt work there.  One of my favorites here.